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Want to vote? Prop. 200 leads to chaos

Citizen Staff Writer

When Arizonans OK’d Proposition 200, there were widespread warnings that it would result in chaos and confusion.

Several recent events have borne out that prediction.

The proposition, approved in 2004, bans delivery of some state services to people who are in this country illegally.

It also made Arizona the first state to require that people show proof of citizenship before registering to vote. And it requires voters to show specific forms of identification to cast a ballot.

But a ruling from federal officials, contravening statements from state authorities and a bill in the Legislature all threaten to make the cherished right of voting an unnecessarily difficult undertaking.

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission recently ruled that voters do not have to show proof of citizenship when registering using a federal voter registration form.

Arizona Secretary of State Jan Brewer asked for the ruling from the federal commission. But after it was delivered, she labeled the decision “incorrect,” “outlandish” and “completely inconsistent, unlawful and without merit.”

And then Brewer did something even more outlandish. She told county election officials to ignore the federal ruling.

Brewer was an outspoken supporter of Proposition 200, so her order certainly smells of politics.

But more important, it puts county elections officials in a bind. Should voters who register with a federal form be turned away or accepted if they don’t have proof of citizenship?

What if some counties follow Brewer’s mandate and other counties follow the federal directive? Could those who register with a federal form be allowed to vote for candidates running for federal offices, but not for state candidates?

This gets even more confusing. Because Proposition 200 was so poorly constructed, it doesn’t address those who vote by mail. That’s a huge loophole, amounting to nearly half of all votes cast in some elections.

Legislators waded into that fray this week when they debated a bill that would have required those who mail in a ballot to also include a copy of an acceptable form of identification.

Thankfully, the bill was voted down. But until the session ends, no bill is really dead.

The net effect of all this is undeniable: It is becoming harder to register to vote and, once registered, harder to cast a ballot.

Proposition 200 was an unnecessary intrusion on Arizonans’ right to vote. The ensuing interpretations of and “improvements” to the proposition have only made this bad situation worse.

Park downtown

Don’t let parking be the factor that keeps you away from the restaurants, theaters and other attractions of downtown.

Many Tucsonans believe that downtown parking is hard to find, involves a long walk and is expensive. Wrong, wrong and wrong.

There are many parking spots in surface lots, garages and at meters on the streets. In most cases, you’ll park closer to your destination than you would at a major mall. And you may pay a few dollars, but it’s nothing like the cost of downtown parking in most major cities.

There also is the convenient TICET, or Tucson Inner City Express Transit, which shuttles people around on small buses.

Take a trip downtown. It’s accessible.

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This blog page archives the entire digital archive of the Tucson Citizen from 1993 to 2009. It was gleaned from a database that was not intended to be displayed as a public web archive. Therefore, some of the text in some stories displays a little oddly. Also, this database did not contain any links to photos, so though the archive contains numerous captions for photos, there are no links to any of those photos.

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